Wenger supports Jack Wilshere
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has backed Jack Wilshere over the midfielder's assertion that only "English people" should play for England.
The subject of players' eligibility to represent a nation where they were not born has been a much-discussed topic following Manchester United manager David Moyes' claim that the FA is looking into recruiting Belgium-born Adnan Januzaj -- who has Albanian-Kosovar parents -- in the future through FIFA's five-year residency rule.
When asked at the general issue earlier this week, Wilshere said: "The only people who should play for England are English people. If you live in England for five years, it doesn't make you English.
"You shouldn't play. It doesn't mean you can play for a country. If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I'm not going to play for Spain."
Wilshere's comments stoked up the debate, and the 21-year-old took the Twitter on Wednesday to clarify his position, saying: "I wish he was English!"
Wenger has backed his player's opinion on the matter, telling BBC Sport: "I agree with him. I always said also an Englishman should manage the England team."
However, Wilshere's opinion was called into question by England cricketer Kevin Pietersen, who has an English mother but, like several of his international teammates, was born in South Africa.
The pair then engaged in an exchange of views on the social network.
.@JackWilshere -interested to know how you define foreigner...? Would that include me, Strauss, Trott, Prior, Justin Rose, Froome, Mo Farah?— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) October 9, 2013
.@JackWilshere same difference.. It's about representing your country! IN ANY SPORT!— Kevin Pietersen (@KP24) October 9, 2013
In an attempt to close the debate, Wilshere concluded:
To be clear, never said 'born in England' - I said English people should play for England.— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) October 9, 2013
Great respect for people like KP, Mo Farah and Wilf Zaha - they make the country proud.— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) October 9, 2013
My view on football - going to a new country when ur an adult, & because u can get a passport u play 4 that national team - I disagree— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) October 9, 2013
Just saying my opinion, everyone is entitled to theirs. Can't wait for Friday night...— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) October 9, 2013